ARTYFACTS: Auto, Auto

Monday, September 03, 2007

Auto, Auto

This show was recommended to me a New Yorker and she was on the button. The curtain draws back to reveal a gleaming red sports car (Citroen). For the next hour two Germans proceed to disembowel and destroy it with hands, feet, clubs, metal spikes, sledgehammers, axes, circular saws – all to some very fine music, songs, poetry and percussion. Often they use the car as their instrument.

There’s more to this show than a musical car wreck. The car is a sacred object in the west. We feel hurt at the slightest scratch or bump. We clean, polish and tart them up. Car crashes horrify us. So when you see two guys attack one with undiluted venom, it’s shocking. It makes you feel violated. That first slice of the axe into the door makes you wince. The huge chisel driven through the bonnet is like a real impailment. The lights being smashed by a baton feels like being beaten up. You laugh, but nervously. A couple of nights later I found myself taking a shortcut round the back of the Pleasance to find the carcasses of their wrecked cars in the dark – it was a little spooky.


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